Ratfolk and Catfolk and Race Boons Oh My

Monday, June 3, 2013

Of all the feedback I receive about Pathfinder Society Organized Play, whether it be in person when I am visiting different regions, through emails, or on the messageboards, what I hear most is that non-convention-goers have little to no chance to obtain some of the convention-only boons that are offered at regional shows. The most popular of these boons are the racial boons, which open up the player's options to choose a unique race. I have thought long and hard on how we can even out things for those players who are not able to attend a convention for whatever reason.

First, let me clarify that we will always have special boons that can only be obtained at conventions. These will consist of a multitude of various options, from extending the range of the Day Job earnings chart to unique races. Our regional and national conventions and larger game days are where we garner the biggest PR for our game. But that doesn't mean I don't want to offer the chance of getting cool boons, especially racial boons, to members of our player base who don't attend conventions.

At these regional conventions, players only receive approximately a 10% chance to receive any boon that is provided at the convention. I don't think it is unreasonable to offer a similar chance to non-convention players.

One tool that has finally been opened to me is I am able to filter play of individual scenarios, and to see every reported table and every Pathfinder Society number that was at that table. I am also able to filter dates so I can see exactly how many tables of a specific scenario were reported over a specified time. Playing around with this new tool got me to thinking about how I could utilize it for the benefit of the entire Pathfinder Society player base.

My initial thought is that when a scenario presents something unique, such as helping a race like ratfolk, catfolk, or dhampirs (and no, I am not advising one way or another whether either of these races will make an appearance in Season 5), it might be possible to offer these races (or whatever races were aided in a specified scenario) via a lottery type of system. While I certainly don't want to flood the OP with a zoo of races (such as making them available on a Chronicle sheet for everyone who plays the specified scenario), I don't think it is a bad thing to occassionally give a limited pool of players the chance to play a new race, similar to the Grippli boon at Gen Con this year, as long as we control the flow of how many become available. With that said, my thinking is that after the first month or two of a specified scenario, I would randomly select from all tables that reported success in the specified scenario. All the players and GMs of the randomly selected tables would then have the unique Chronicle sheet sent directly to them.

Maybe this is or isn't the best way to offer unique boons to the entire playerbase, especially those who can't or won't attend conventions. However, it is the start of a working idea I am still toying with that would offer an equal chance to everyone who plays the specified scenario in a specified time limit. If you think this is a horrible idea, please offer a solution for how we can make it better. I would very much like to hear your feedback on what you think of the above system, or hear your thoughts on any other suggestions you might have for how to best utilize this new tool I have been given. As always, your feedback and comments help to strengthen the community at large, and without your feedback and participation, Pathfinder Society wouldn't be as awesome as it is today. I look forward to reading all of your comments.

Mike Brock
Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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Dark Archive 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

If you look at the GenCon 2014 blog post, volunteers of every tier, even the non-tier volunteers get a race boon.

Local coordinators can do what they want, I guess, but I base my boon distribution on what they do at PaizoCon and GenCon.

3/5

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Todd Morgan wrote:
currently you just need to volunteer for one slot at a convention to pick up the GM race boon.

Yeah, but the likelihood is that they also have credits from game days, and many con GMs tend to run multiple slots, so really, it seems to me like you are arguing that GMs who only run one game at an occasional convention won't get boons. Now here's where I get controversial:

I'm ok with that.

GMs who run that little are contributing, yes, but but infinitely less than those who GM regularly at game days, and even less than those that GM at both.

We should be rewarding contribution, not "HEY! I showed up at a con to run!"

Shadow Lodge

wakedown wrote:

OK, I like to solve problems. Here's another attempt:

*SNIP*
I now place this example boon at the firing line. Fire away.

Hold on, let me reload. :P

A very good concept, but definitely rough around the edges.

One, it doesn't take sanctioned modules and adventure paths into account; they should certainly factor in, and be worth more than scenarios, as they (usually) take more time to run.

Two, why should convention play count for so much more? They're already getting GM boons for running at conventions, and GMing at a con will generally mean you're running more in a shorter period anyways, so they probably don't need the extra boost on this chronicle.

With a con scenario being worth five points, you simply have to run four times in one weekend to finish this, while a non-con-goer would have to run ten times in a fixed twelve week period; with the point requirements and the time frame we're looking at here, pretty much the only people who are going to finish this would be con GMs, people who GM every single week already, and people who find out about this with enough advanced warning to plan on earning it.

In other words, either the number of scenarios needs to be lowered a bit, or the window of opportunity needs to be widened; make it a four month period, and you'll both increase the number of people who will benefit from this (ten scenarios over sixteen weeks means people running twice a month just need to fit in a couple more games during that time), as well as decrease the number of times per year Paizo has to put these out (and slows down how fast people can accrue them).

Dark Archive 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

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The Fourth Horseman wrote:
Todd Morgan wrote:
currently you just need to volunteer for one slot at a convention to pick up the GM race boon.

Yeah, but the likelihood is that they also have credits from game days, and many con GMs tend to run multiple slots, so really, it seems to me like you are arguing that GMs who only run one game at an occasional convention won't get boons. Now here's where I get controversial:

I'm ok with that.

GMs who run that little are contributing, yes, but but infinitely less than those who GM regularly at game days, and even less than those that GM at both.

We should be rewarding contribution, not "HEY! I showed up at a con to run!"

See, I'm not okay with someone who paid money to visit a convention and donate their time to run a game to not get anything for it. Especially at a convention such as GenCon.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Why does the con GM not get the convention boon AND the proposed organizational boon? He's doing both after all.

Silver Crusade 5/5

wakedown wrote:

OK, I like to solve problems. Here's another attempt:

Fictional Spring 2014 GM Boon

The exact details are up for debate - it's the concept open for criticism.

My thoughts:

1. This allows someone who GMs a lot more games in a store to receive a reward similar to someone who GMs much less games in a convention setting.

2. GMs should still be very motivated to GM slots at a convention in addition to a store, since they are worth so much more.

3. This PDF can be made freely available to download from Paizo each quarter, eliminating the logistics of distribution which are a big problem. Many GMs cite they ran at a convention and never received the boon from the coordinator. Now, it's up to them to get it.

4. PFS largely relies on the honor system. If I asked someone "hey let me see your oread boon", I feel like this form completed is much more genuine that the current ones (which are easy to photocopy). In a region, at a glance, we'll know the person in question here has "done the work" because their entries will be recognizable. Since we are already relying on the honor system, why bog down coordinators/VLs with logistics for these boons?

I now place this example boon at the firing line. Fire away.

+1... well done


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That's the issue. When I go to a convention, that's my vacation. Most conventions don't provide hotel rooms, at least not the smaller ones I typically go to.

Here's an example. In March, my wife and I attended a convention that we paid to enter, signed up to play games at, etc, and at the last minute, there weren't enough GMs to cover a table of walk-ups. I bowed out of my slot and ran an extra table. I was "off the clock," so to speak, but I would rather not play than see new players not get to play, especially something as cool as a special. That's a net good thing, because it means that the convention attracted more new players than the organizer had back up GMs. For my services I was given a GM race boon (which I promptly gave to my wife, but that's not the point.) I wasn't being paid to be there. On the contrary, I showed up to play. Now, personally, I would do that anyway, because it's kind of my job as a venture officer. However, what if we needed two tables? I would've impressed either my wife, or one of my friends into service to GM. That's inconvenient and difficult (especially when you're only given an hour or two to prep). That's the sort of thing that GM boons are supposed to reward.

Even if I had scheduled myself to run that slot, I still took 5 hours out of my vacation and spent an additional few hours prepping to run a game at a convention so that others could play. It's one thing to run every week at home. My wife does that, too. But she doesn't want to GM at conventions, and I don't blame her. That's her chance to play with no responsibility. It's a very real sacrifice to run at conventions, especially when you have uncertain conditions (power outlets, internet access, etc), uncertain time slots (this table started late because it was made up of new players and could you please run it for us?) and often cramped and uncomfortable conditions (This scenario requires 4 books to run. Here's a 3x6 card table for you and your 6 players. Enjoy!).

Obviously, things are not always that bad. Things are not even usually that bad. The point is, they could be. And you're expected to deliver a great game experience to other people who also paid money to be there. And to quote Dante from Clerks, "I'm not even supposed to be here today!"

So when you say people who only run one game at a convention don't contribute measurably, I have to disagree.

2/5

I think Wakedown's proposal, or something based upon the same idea, has a lot of potential- excellent job!

@Walter- thanks for clarifying your position earlier... perhaps I responded a bit harshly to it. I am happy to see some real constructive postings here in the last 24 hours. :-)

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Nick Greene wrote:
Now, personally, I would do that anyway, because it's kind of my job as a venture officer. However, what if we needed two tables? I would've impressed either my wife, or one of my friends into service to GM. That's inconvenient and difficult (especially when you're only given an hour or two to prep). That's the sort of thing that GM boons are supposed to reward.

There's no reason conventions can't get sent the current style race boons for this sort of thing.

Dark Archive 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

So then there's not really a reason to have Convention 'points' on the sheet, right?

Shadow Lodge

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Why does the con GM not get the convention boon AND the proposed organizational boon? He's doing both after all.

this is how I was thinking too

Admittedly I didn't look at the points but the concept made sense

also my recommendation would be the point based ones be from the previous Season ....while the Con based ones would pull from the current pool of Boons

Hypothetical Example -THIS IS JUST THROWING RACES OUT-

Season 6 GM Boons
Q1 Ratfolk
Q2 Gillman
Q3 Vanara
Q4 Samsaran

Point Based Boons

Q1 Ifrit
Q2 Undine
Q3 Oread
Q4 Sylph

This way we gain the best of both worlds Con GM's get their Cookie ... and Other GM's get there Cookies based on GMing at FLGS's


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I'd be okay with that scenario. As long as Paizo continues to reward our convention volunteers. As an organizer, it can be tough to fill all the gm slots, especially when trying to line up a special or something else equally popular.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Just to throw in my two cents, I like Wakedown's idea. It seems pretty reasonable, and rewards GM's that show up to GM for local game days. I think if something like it gets implemented it should be along the lines of the tweak that Wraith suggested. That way the people making the commitment to GM at cons get rewarded with the new and shiny for taking the time to devote the time and money required to travel to and GM a con instead of working, etc.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

While wakedown's well put together proposal isn't exactly what I was shooting for, it is certainly something I can get behind.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Chris Mortika wrote:


I'm not saying anything about quality of boons. The argument on the table is "GMs who run at shops should get boons." My response: they already do.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
This is a mathematicians answer. Technically correct, devoid of meaning, and an evasion of the discussion rather than a continuation of it.

You know, BNW, I've tried repeatedly to engage you with civility on this topic, and all I seem to be doing is provoking you.

I'm done.

-- Chris, professional mathematician

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Todd Morgan wrote:
So then there's not really a reason to have Convention 'points' on the sheet, right?

2 reasons occur to me

1) if the convention boon is for the in species this season and the sheet is for last seasons model (allowing you to double up)

2) the convention may not offer a race boon to folks running just one slot.

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Todd Morgan wrote:
So then there's not really a reason to have Convention 'points' on the sheet, right?

2 reasons occur to me

1) if the convention boon is for the in species this season and the sheet is for last seasons model (allowing you to double up)

2) the convention may not offer a race boon to folks running just one slot.

I think those are two very good reasons. Especially as people were concerned that it would keep people from volunteering at cons. Now they have another reason to do so: The shiney race boon if the con has those, and double the points towards a second boon.

3/5

As long as this was in addition to, rather than instead of, the current way con bonuses are handled, then I think it'd work great. The only question after that is whether or not it changes the campaign leadership's notion of Golarion/PFS racial distribution by making even more race boons accessible to the public. That said, with Aasimar and Tiefling (and Tengu, but particularly the first two due to the many many subraces available) being open to all, that ship may have sailed already (please don't get me wrong, I /love/ being able to make tieflings and aasimars, I'm just not sure how much racial distribution accuracy can be reasonably maintained in light of it).

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

DrakeRoberts wrote:
As long as this was in addition to, rather than instead of, the current way con bonuses are handled, then I think it'd work great. The only question after that is whether or not it changes the campaign leadership's notion of Golarion/PFS racial distribution by making even more race boons accessible to the public. That said, with Aasimar and Tiefling (and Tengu, but particularly the first two due to the many many subraces available) being open to all, that ship may have sailed already (please don't get me wrong, I /love/ being able to make tieflings and aasimars, I'm just not sure how much racial distribution accuracy can be reasonably maintained in light of it).

As someone named Drake you should already realize when a ship has sailed, circumnavigated the globe, and come back with a boatful of plunder :)

3/5

BigNorseWolf wrote:
DrakeRoberts wrote:
As long as this was in addition to, rather than instead of, the current way con bonuses are handled, then I think it'd work great. The only question after that is whether or not it changes the campaign leadership's notion of Golarion/PFS racial distribution by making even more race boons accessible to the public. That said, with Aasimar and Tiefling (and Tengu, but particularly the first two due to the many many subraces available) being open to all, that ship may have sailed already (please don't get me wrong, I /love/ being able to make tieflings and aasimars, I'm just not sure how much racial distribution accuracy can be reasonably maintained in light of it).
As someone named Drake you should already realize when a ship has sailed, circumnavigated the globe, and come back with a boatful of plunder :)

Well, you know, I do what I can. :)

5/5

It doesn't necessarily change the Inner Sea racial distributions either. Cheliax has a LOT of tieflings. Shackles has a substantial population of Tengu. And, IIRC Taldor and Osirion have a decent number of Aasimar.

So, the ship hasn't sailed...though it is fully provisioned and could be set off with a wrong move on campaign leadership's part. Once you get a true Mos Eisley setting, you can't get it back without a full reboot.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

It shouldn't be that bad. Folks getting the boons this way should be behind the screen so often that their characters are a blip on the species statistics.

Its also pretty likely that the pathfinder society has a very pro active non racial discrimination policy. Where else is a tiefling going to find people that will hire him?

Silver Crusade

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Chris Mortika wrote:
Fromper wrote:


Second, are you trying to say the current GM star reward is as good as a race boon? I think it's safe to say that at least 95% of PFS players/GMs would disagree.

I'm not saying anything about quality of boons. The argument on the table is "GMs who run at shops should get boons." My response: they already do.

Why do I keep having to remind people of the title of this thread, and the blog post that the thread is a response to? Take another look at the title. It specifically says "race boons". That's the subject at hand, and always was.

Getting back to the rest of the thread: While I like the intent of Wakedown's proposal, I really dislike the time limit. 8 tables in a quarter? The die hards who GM all the time will have no problem doing that, but they also won't play often enough to actually use the boon. It's a nice acknowledgement for those people, but it doesn't help to get people who never GM to start doing it once every month or two. Letting them take a year or more to earn the reward needs to be allowed.

Going back to earlier suggestions, I think I prefer using the GM stars to give out race boons for this reason, while continuing to give out boons at conventions as they have in the past. Or as I suggested, letting stores apply for boons, the same way convention organizers do, though I realize that creates more work for Paizo staff, so it's probably not the best method, unless VOs are put in charge of it.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northwest aka WalterGM

Fromper wrote:


Getting back to the rest of the thread: While I like the intent of Wakedown's proposal, I really dislike the time limit. 8 tables in a quarter? The die hards who GM all the time will have no problem doing that, but they also won't play often enough to actually use the boon. It's a nice acknowledgement for those people, but it doesn't help to get people who never GM to start doing it once every month or two. Letting them take a year or more to earn the reward needs to be allowed.

Going back to earlier suggestions, I think I prefer using the GM stars to give out race boons for this reason, while continuing to give out boons at conventions as they have in the past. Or as I suggested, letting stores apply for boons, the same way convention organizers do, though I realize that creates more work for Paizo staff, so it's probably not the best method, unless VOs are put in charge of it.

Eight tables in a quarter is two to three times a month. Would you prefer one to two tables a month, which would be six tables a quarter?

Where would you like the cut off time frame to be? One boon a year? Sixteen or twenty tables in a year? Something like that?

Silver Crusade

Walter Sheppard wrote:


Eight tables in a quarter is two to three times a month. Would you prefer one to two tables a month, which would be six tables a quarter?

Where would you like the cut off time frame to be? One boon a year? Sixteen or twenty tables in a year? Something like that?

One boon a year for doing 16 or 20 tables would be reasonable. Like you said, 8 tables a quarter is 2-3 per month. At a game store that meets weekly, that means you're asking people to GM more often than they play. I'd say getting people who never GM to start doing it once per month, and occasionally more if they want the special reward, would make it a useful incentive.

And as mentioned, modules should probably be counted, probably as 2 tables like they are for GM stars.

I actually don't like the idea of including adventure paths played outside of PFS with non-PFS characters. But I don't like the idea of including those for anything related to PFS, anyway. Actually, I'm GMing Rise of the Runelords completely outside of PFS right now, and could probably get GM star credit for it already, but I've never looked into how that works. Maybe I've already "earned" that 3rd star and just don't know it yet. :P

3/5

Fromper wrote:
Walter Sheppard wrote:


Eight tables in a quarter is two to three times a month. Would you prefer one to two tables a month, which would be six tables a quarter?

Where would you like the cut off time frame to be? One boon a year? Sixteen or twenty tables in a year? Something like that?

One boon a year for doing 16 or 20 tables would be reasonable. Like you said, 8 tables a quarter is 2-3 per month. At a game store that meets weekly, that means you're asking people to GM more often than they play. I'd say getting people who never GM to start doing it once per month, and occasionally more if they want the special reward, would make it a useful incentive.

And as mentioned, modules should probably be counted, probably as 2 tables like they are for GM stars.

I actually don't like the idea of including adventure paths played outside of PFS with non-PFS characters. But I don't like the idea of including those for anything related to PFS, anyway. Actually, I'm GMing Rise of the Runelords completely outside of PFS right now, and could probably get GM star credit for it already, but I've never looked into how that works. Maybe I've already "earned" that 3rd star and just don't know it yet. :P

Well, I guess the question is, "what is the intent of these boons?" Is the intent to reward those who have dedicated much of their time to GMing over playing? Or is the intent to function as an enticement to get more people to GM in general? These are two very different goals as Fromper's post highlights.

Side Note:
Long story short with the RotR thing is that for each of the 6 books you complete, you get a module chronicle sheet to apply to a PFS character (as would your players), and the 2 gm credits that a module gives. The specifics are a bit more precise than that, but that's the quick overview version.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Walter Sheppard wrote:
Fromper wrote:


Getting back to the rest of the thread: While I like the intent of Wakedown's proposal, I really dislike the time limit. 8 tables in a quarter? The die hards who GM all the time will have no problem doing that, but they also won't play often enough to actually use the boon. It's a nice acknowledgement for those people, but it doesn't help to get people who never GM to start doing it once every month or two. Letting them take a year or more to earn the reward needs to be allowed.

Going back to earlier suggestions, I think I prefer using the GM stars to give out race boons for this reason, while continuing to give out boons at conventions as they have in the past. Or as I suggested, letting stores apply for boons, the same way convention organizers do, though I realize that creates more work for Paizo staff, so it's probably not the best method, unless VOs are put in charge of it.

Eight tables in a quarter is two to three times a month. Would you prefer one to two tables a month, which would be six tables a quarter?

Where would you like the cut off time frame to be? One boon a year? Sixteen or twenty tables in a year? Something like that?

In my area, we don't have weekly game days, we only have biweekly game days.

I've personally committed to GMing every other session at two different stores, which comes to -- 7 tables most quarters. If, you know, one of the stores doesn't ever cancel a gameday (as sometimes happens).

So what would work best for *me* is 6 per quarter. Or 12 per half-year (which is probably a better proof of commitment).

But I'm going to GM what I GM regardless of what the rewards are, so I'm not sure how relevant I am to this discussion. But I thought I'd throw in the datapoint.

Silver Crusade

DrakeRoberts wrote:
Well, I guess the question is, "what is the intent of these boons?" Is the intent to reward those who have dedicated much of their time to GMing over playing? Or is the intent to function as an enticement to get more people to GM in general? These are two very different goals as Fromper's post highlights.

Why can't it be both? Make them easy enough to get that they incentivize the people who don't GM very often (ie maybe 15 sessions per year to get the reward). The die hards who GM regularly will just get it faster because it's relatively easy to get by their standards.

Dark Archive

The Fourth Horseman wrote:
Todd Morgan wrote:
currently you just need to volunteer for one slot at a convention to pick up the GM race boon.

Yeah, but the likelihood is that they also have credits from game days, and many con GMs tend to run multiple slots, so really, it seems to me like you are arguing that GMs who only run one game at an occasional convention won't get boons. Now here's where I get controversial:

I'm ok with that.

GMs who run that little are contributing, yes, but but infinitely less than those who GM regularly at game days, and even less than those that GM at both.

We should be rewarding contribution, not "HEY! I showed up at a con to run!"

This kinda of opinion is pretty counter productive to PFS. When the venture captain sent out an email that he needed more GMs for the some of the more busy days at Origins this year, I volunteered to run a slot, primarily because I had never gotten a race boon before. I spent about 4 hours prepping the scenario they gave me to run before the con, and got up an hour earlier than I had to that friday morning to get to the slot on time. I didn't get to play the games I came to convention to play durring that slot, and I didn't get to hang out with the friends I only see once or twice a year durring that time. When I only volunteer to run one slot at a convention, they aren't paying for any of my badge, or my hotel room.

I'm sure a bunch of other people volunteered time at the convention that they paid to attend for similar reasons. And I'm sure the people organizing the PFS at the convention didn't care why people volunteered to run games, just that they did do so.

If I heard this sort of opinion offered by any of the actual people involved with decision makin for the campaign, I sure would never bother helping out like that again.

Holding up any PFS judge up to some sort of "purity of motives" standard would cause a lot of PFS groups to simply die out.

Your opinion sounds like it was formed without much, if any, experience co-ordinating PFS events and judges, let alone on the scale of a convention. See how hard it is to get people to volunteer non convention time before you decide you know best how to run things on a larger scale.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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Victor Zajic wrote:
I spent about 4 hours prepping the scenario they gave me to run before the con, and got up an hour earlier than I had to that friday morning to get to the slot on time. I didn't get to play the games I came to convention to play durring that slot, and I didn't get to hang out with the friends I only see once or twice a year durring that time. When I only volunteer to run one slot at a convention, they aren't paying for any of my badge, or my hotel room.

And thank you for stepping up, but what you're saying amounts to that work is almost infinitely worth more than buying the scenario, spending 4 hours of prep, and running at a game day. I can see an arguement for it being more valuable, but nowhere near infinitely more valuable.

3/5

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Victor Zajic wrote:
I spent about 4 hours prepping the scenario they gave me to run before the con, and got up an hour earlier than I had to that friday morning to get to the slot on time. I didn't get to play the games I came to convention to play durring that slot, and I didn't get to hang out with the friends I only see once or twice a year durring that time. When I only volunteer to run one slot at a convention, they aren't paying for any of my badge, or my hotel room.
And thank you for stepping up, but what you're saying amounts to that work is almost infinitely worth more than buying the scenario, spending 4 hours of prep, and running at a game day. I can see an arguement for it being more valuable, but nowhere near infinitely more valuable.

And this was the point I was trying to make, Victor. Thank you for stepping up, but seriously, I'm a little off-put by the subtextual message that I see here: con GMs, no matter how much or little they GM, are more valued by Paizo than game day GMs, no matter how much or little they GM.

Now look, I get it. Boons are an enticement. We would lose con GMs if Paizo didn't throw a bunch at them. They aren't going away, I'm sure. My opinion on that is worth squat to the reality here. They want to lure you in to GM, so race boons being given away directly at cons won't go away in favor of any points system.

That said, I want to address the point made by you and Nick Greene, i.e.: giving up your play / game / vacation time. You guys are talking like us gameday GMs don't have anything to sacrifice, and I'm insulted by it. The late nights prepping when I have work early the next morning, is all time I could spend leisurely, but I have to prep. I prefer to play, and so when I GM, I'm giving up a bit of my fun. Why? because I want to give back to PFS and my local pathfinder community. I appreciate the efforts of Con GMs, but PLEASE don't marginalize mine at game days.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northwest aka WalterGM

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Con GM, game day GM, organizer, player... we are all the same people at the end of the day. These are all just labels that identify us during any given snapshot of our PFS lives.

So let's try and take a really objective look here, and try to see everything that's being presented in this thread and weight it fairly.

We don't need to get derailed trying to prove that one kind of GM has it harder than another.

Both contribute to the community, both run tables, and both are the same person most of the time. We don't need any animosity.

3/5

Walter Sheppard wrote:
We don't need to get derailed trying to prove that one kind of GM has it harder than another.

[sarcasm]But I suffer much more than anyone else does![/sarcasm]

Seriously though, Walter definitely has the right of it: no need to subculture our subculture. We're subcultury enough.

5/5

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I was subcultured before it was cool.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Walter Sheppard wrote:


Both contribute to the community, both run tables, and both are the same person most of the time. We don't need any animosity.

The idea that -I deserve the con boon and you don't- starts the animosity.

Or in other words, its only animosity when we argue for fairness.

Dark Archive

The Fourth Horseman wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Victor Zajic wrote:
I spent about 4 hours prepping the scenario they gave me to run before the con, and got up an hour earlier than I had to that friday morning to get to the slot on time. I didn't get to play the games I came to convention to play durring that slot, and I didn't get to hang out with the friends I only see once or twice a year durring that time. When I only volunteer to run one slot at a convention, they aren't paying for any of my badge, or my hotel room.
And thank you for stepping up, but what you're saying amounts to that work is almost infinitely worth more than buying the scenario, spending 4 hours of prep, and running at a game day. I can see an arguement for it being more valuable, but nowhere near infinitely more valuable.

And this was the point I was trying to make, Victor. Thank you for stepping up, but seriously, I'm a little off-put by the subtextual message that I see here: con GMs, no matter how much or little they GM, are more valued by Paizo than game day GMs, no matter how much or little they GM.

Now look, I get it. Boons are an enticement. We would lose con GMs if Paizo didn't throw a bunch at them. They aren't going away, I'm sure. My opinion on that is worth squat to the reality here. They want to lure you in to GM, so race boons being given away directly at cons won't go away in favor of any points system.

That said, I want to address the point made by you and Nick Greene, i.e.: giving up your play / game / vacation time. You guys are talking like us gameday GMs don't have anything to sacrifice, and I'm insulted by it. The late nights prepping when I have work early the next morning, is all time I could spend leisurely, but I have to prep. I prefer to play, and so when I GM, I'm giving up a bit of my fun. Why? because I want to give back to PFS and my local pathfinder community. I appreciate the efforts of Con GMs, but PLEASE don't marginalize mine at game days.

So here is the way to present that arguement in a way that is contructive.

Instead of pointing out how you feel that your contribution is more important than someone elses (Some GMs only GM once at conventions and get a race boon, and they are contributing infinitly less than GMs who GM alot at conventions or at home or both, and thus shouldn't get rewards), instead point out how you feel that non convention GMs need to be rewarded more.

You will notice, that not once in my post, did I actual make the arguement that are taking offense to, when you say "You guys are talking like us gameday GMs don't have anythign to sacrifice". You are the only one that said that some GM's contributions are less than others and should be rewarded less. That way you are feeling about your contribution not being valued is exactly the feeling you are perpetrating on others.

I whole hearted agree that there should be more compensation for the Gameday GMs, especially in areas like printing the darn monster stats in the module so I don't have to spend 45 minutes compiling them on my own, or watch a GM spend those extra minutes while running trying to figure out how the bad guys work. And Race Boons seem like a really good and effect GM bribe. But there is no reason that giving GameDay GM more rewards needs to come at the cost of giving Con GMs less rewards.

The opinion you stated is only controversial because because you presented it in a very petty way. Your actual arguement is one that most of us can get behind, as long as you stop trying to marginalize the sacrifice that any of us make when we volunteer to run PFS for other people.

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Victor Zajic wrote:
And Race Boons seem like a really good and effect GM bribe. But there is no reason that giving GameDay GM more rewards needs to come at the cost of giving Con GMs less rewards.

It does if you, like many here, hold onto the idea that the boons are a zero sum game. Rewarding gameday dms automatically means 'taking something away" from COn Dms.

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And that, again, doesn't seem like a terribly constructive arguement.

If Race Boons had some sort of objective cash value, then it's possible that flooding the market could reduce their value.

But in this context, it's like argueing that if I give all my friends a piece of chocolate, that it will somehow taste less delicious because more people have a piece.

And in a true Zero Sum game, every new convention would devalue the convention GM rewards, and I don't think anyone can honestly be holding onto that position.

I still hold the best position as being "Reward all the GMs more."

Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West aka JohnF

The chief incentive for game day GMs is quite simple; they get to play. This is a community-based activity, and is supposed to be supported by contributions from the community.

There are between four and eight people at a table. That means that, on average, you should be GMing somewhere between once a month and once every couple of months (at a weekly game day) if you're going to do your fair share of the work.

Now we all know that isn't the case. Even discounting people who have only been playing for a few months, or have other reasons for not taking their turn behind the screen, there are a fair number of people who only show up to play, and rely on the selfless nature of a few regular folks who probably GM more often than they play. Week in, week out, it's the same faces who end up in the GMs seat.

There is a reward for this; you get a chronicle for GMing a session. While this isn't a big deal for some folks, I know more than a few GMs who will only offer to run a table if it's for a scenario they haven't run before. So obviously the existing incentive/reward system does seem to be working. There are also the GM star levels, which offer additional minor benefits.

Personally, I prefer to run a scenario I've already run before; it's less work to prep it, and I get a chance to do a better job by learning from the mistakes I made on earlier runs. But that's just a personal preference; I don't believe it makes me morally superior to people who make a different choice. Even if you limit yourself to only running a scenario once that still lets you GM as much as 50% of the time, which is far more than could be expected of you (and more than I manage).

Wearing my pragmatists hat, the purpose of a boon is to make it more attractive to perform some particular activity (in this case, to GM a table). But if the system is working well enough without the boon, is it really needed?

I can only speak for the region I know, but PFS isn't fading out here. While it might be nice to have some sort of additional reward for those folks who go above and beyond, I'm not convinced.

If there is something offered, though, I don't think it should be time-limited, and I don't think it should be based purely on table count. I'd think a scheme similar to that used by some stores that charge a table fee would be better; you pay one unit for playing a scenario, but you earn five units by GMing. Positive balances can be used as 'store credit' to purchase boons.

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The chief incentive for con GMs is quite simple; they get to play. This is a community-based activity, and is supposed to be supported by contributions from the community.

There are between four and eight people at a table. That means that, on average, you should be GMing somewhere between once a con and once every couple of cons if you're going to do your fair share of the work.

There is a reward for this; you get a chronicle for GMing a session. While this isn't a big deal for some folks, I know more than a few GMs who will only offer to run a table if it's for a scenario they haven't run before. So obviously the existing incentive/reward system does seem to be working. There are also the GM star levels, which offer additional minor benefits.

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:

The chief incentive for con GMs is quite simple; they get to play. This is a community-based activity, and is supposed to be supported by contributions from the community.

There are between four and eight people at a table. That means that, on average, you should be GMing somewhere between once a con and once every couple of cons if you're going to do your fair share of the work.

There is a reward for this; you get a chronicle for GMing a session. While this isn't a big deal for some folks, I know more than a few GMs who will only offer to run a table if it's for a scenario they haven't run before. So obviously the existing incentive/reward system does seem to be working. There are also the GM star levels, which offer additional minor benefits.

Getting enough people together to talk about how awesome the con was generates a significantly higher amount of spillover word of mouth advertising compared to single-store gamedays. Destination events have spillover allure which is hard to quantify but apparently useful to encouraging participation.

And both are valuable. Cons, however, generally do require a larger to much larger investment from their GMs. They correspondingly want to have a tool to cover the HUNDREDS of slots of GMing they need to adequately staff a con like PaizoCon or GenCon where there's dozens to hundreds of tables a slot. The complexities of con organization are NOT linear scaling of the complexities of game day organizing, so I'm going to just flatly state that improved incentives are a good thing.

Scaling boon, 6 month window, separate from the Con GM boons and can be earned simultaneously. Hardcore GMs being hardcore and pushing PFRPG by running well-prepared slots of the same game five to ten times in a weekend is a behavior to reward, where cold-running a game at a store every week for a year isn't doing nearly as much to advance the hobby or Paizo's sales - and we can't tell the difference between the cases without a more nosey oversight system.

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TetsujinOni wrote:
. Hardcore GMs being hardcore and pushing PFRPG by running well-prepared slots of the same game five to ten times in a weekend is a behavior to reward, where cold-running a game at a store every week for a year isn't doing nearly as much to advance the hobby or Paizo's sales - and we can't tell the difference between the cases without a more nosey oversight system.

I've seen ice cold runs at conventions. The possibility of that happening at game days doesn't seem to be such a unique problem to warrant the vast gulf in treatment.

Spillover works the other way too. Get someone to DM a few times in a small store where they know everyone, get them used to dming, and maybe you'll have a bigger pool of people willing to try it at a con.

Shadow Lodge

BigNorseWolf wrote:
I've seen ice cold runs at conventions.

I'm pretty used to seeing cold runs at cons.

I see more cold runs at local conventions than I see cold runs in a store.

The only con I didn't see a ton of cold runs at was PaizoCon, and that's where GMs ran several tables of the same scenario.

All our cons down here, a GM only runs a single scenario one time, and often that time is cold. I'm thankful that my first game wasn't with a GM running cold, otherwise I doubt I'd be in these forums today... for playing through some of those cold runs, I'd rather have been at the dentist.

Perhaps that's why I don't see remotely how running 1 table at a con, and only 1 table is anything better for the hobby than running 4 tables in a local store. If anything, I'd argue for 1:1, but proposed 1:4 to keep major incentives on the convention GMing side.


Honestly the GM boons mean nothign to me.

I Gm almost every con for for two reasons. The first reason, I get in at a greatly reduced rate, and sometimes free. Second I want to give people a good experience.

The GM boons are a nice thing I get to give to other people. Honestly I know several people with stacks of unsued GM boons. Is it that hard get one?

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Finlanderboy wrote:


The GM boons are a nice thing I get to give to other people. Honestly I know several people with stacks of unsued GM boons. Is it that hard get one?

It largely depends on how close you are to the convention and to the group running it. Also if you have your own transport or need to rely on public transportation. (Driving time upstate new york to jersey 1 hour 2 minutes. Train times upstate new york to jersey: 3.5 hours there, 12 hours back)

5/5

I get boons ALL. THE. TIME.

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MYTHIC TOZ wrote:
I get boons ALL. THE. TIME.

Those are court appearance tickets. Slightly different.

Silver Crusade

wakedown wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
I've seen ice cold runs at conventions.

I'm pretty used to seeing cold runs at cons.

I see more cold runs at local conventions than I see cold runs in a store.

The only con I didn't see a ton of cold runs at was PaizoCon, and that's where GMs ran several tables of the same scenario.

All our cons down here, a GM only runs a single scenario one time, and often that time is cold. I'm thankful that my first game wasn't with a GM running cold, otherwise I doubt I'd be in these forums today... for playing through some of those cold runs, I'd rather have been at the dentist.

Perhaps that's why I don't see remotely how running 1 table at a con, and only 1 table is anything better for the hobby than running 4 tables in a local store. If anything, I'd argue for 1:1, but proposed 1:4 to keep major incentives on the convention GMing side.

Agreed. I'll even take it a step further: I only remember seeing a cold run once at a game day, and that was a First Steps adventure, which are among the easiest to run cold. I'd say that at least 20% of the tables I've played at conventions have been cold runs.

I remember one small, local convention where I played 4 tables, and 3 of them were being run by the same guy who was reading the scenarios 10 minutes before the sessions started. After playing Friday evening and 3 slots Saturday at that one, I chose to just stay home Sunday, despite having payed for a weekend pass and signing up for games that day, for fear that the experience would be that bad again. I saw more cold runs at that convention alone than in every store game day I've ever been to.

From my experience, cold runs are MUCH more common at conventions than game days, probably because of the crush to find GMs for a lot more tables at once. Which, arguably, is a good reason to reward con GMs who sign up in advance and prepare properly, but I don't think the people who run cold really deserve any reward. In most of those cases, the players would have been better off not being able to play.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West aka JohnF

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Fromper wrote:
From my experience, cold runs are MUCH more common at conventions than game days, probably because of the crush to find GMs for a lot more tables at once. Which, arguably, is a good reason to reward con GMs who sign up in advance and prepare properly.

You mean people organise conventions without having GMs doing that?

Around here, we have three 125 - 200+ table cons every year, and we try very hard to have all the GMs signed up well in advance. About the only time we have a table run cold is when a GM calls off at the last minute. That does happen; at the last convention we had a GM who had a family emergency, which left a table of seasoned players with no GM. I was one of those players, so rather than call off the table I ran it cold (and long ...) But that kind of thing is very much the exception. We anticipate (and prepare for) a few tables every slot that will be filled by walk-ins, and will throw on extra tables if needed, but even there we try to have a pool of GMs available ready to run a Tier 1-5 scenario of their choice.

We've just this week put out our first call for GMs for one convention (the smallest of the three; we're anticipating 125+ tables), which takes place in seven weeks time. We've already got GMs signed up for one third of those tables, and will be rattling the trees again this weekend; by Monday we will probably have signups for over half of them.

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John Francis wrote:
You mean people organise conventions without having GMs doing that?

The specific argument was made that we didn't want to reward game day games because they might be run cold. I think if we apply that logic fairly we shouldn't reward con games, so that argument doesn't hold.

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